A Common BPD Trigger Seen in Borderline Personality Disorder Relationships
If you’re new here, I’m Audrey: a mom, wife and blogger formerly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. My goal for this blog is to help raise BPD awareness, dispel common BPD myths and help other people with BPD and their BPD relationships. This post touches on a common BPD trigger and is written for both people with BPD and their partners. So you can easily share this post with your partner and go over it together.
A trait of healthy relationships is spending time apart—either alone or with friends. However, going out without your BPD spouse or partner can be a huge trigger for some. Like saying no to someone with borderline personality disorder, leaving someone with BPD alone can lead to intense emotional responses or blow up fights. This isn’t because the person with BPD wants to be difficult. It’s because of their fear of abandonment.
Even though I’ve been in therapy for over a decade and I, as of 2022, do not meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis (after suffering with untreated BPD for 17 years), the trigger of having my husband make plans without me has only significantly improved in the last year. This was such a debilitating trigger for me for the longest time, with every single partner I had. Simply being aware of the trigger wasn’t enough to stop the feelings that ate at my core and it wasn’t enough to keep me from reacting.
Something else had to be done.
Trigger Warning: Self destructive thoughts, splitting black, invalidation, relationship argument
Hey there! I’m Audrey Harper and I have borderline personality disorder. BPD Beautiful is my recovery blog where I document my treatment & learned DBT skills, hold myself accountable and help spread awareness of borderline personality disorder.
In this post, I go over what splitting is and show real life examples of splitting including distorted thoughts a person with BPD might have during an episode. As always, please note that my experience with BPD does not reflect all people with BPD. We’re all different and unique. However, I hope this post sheds some light on the condition if you have a loved one with borderline personality disorder.
BPD Splitting: Introduction
“What’s, for the most part, made you consistently happy and hasn’t disappointed you?” Ellen, my therapist, had asked during our session.
I looked to the side, up and forward in thought, “hmming” as my eyes gazed where the wall hit the ceiling.
I blinked. “Bobby,” I said affirmatively with a smile. (My son)
“Ok! What else?”
Trigger Warning: Suicide, perceived abandonment, hopelessness, negative self-talk, rejection, forever alone, self-sabotage. Read at your own discretion.
Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional. This post should not be considered medical advice or research. My experience with borderline personality disorder, triggers or symptoms do not reflect another person with BPD’s experience, triggers or symptoms.
If you’re new to BPD Beautiful, I’m Audrey Harper and I have borderline personality disorder (“BPD”). This is my Emotional Wellness and BPD Blog where I document my BPD recovery. I’m publishing this post in hopes to help loved ones and caregivers understand BPD and to spread BPD awareness. People with BPD are often labelled as dramatic, attention seeking or crazy. While it may look that way from the outside sometimes, what’s going on inside is A LOT more complex. What people with BPD need—especially during an episode, is patience, validation, support and reassurance.
What Causes a BPD Episode
In my case—a BPD episode usually happens after my fear of abandonment or fear of rejection are either triggered by…
- An outside stimulus: an innocent joke taken the wrong way or being left out of a conversation my BPD brain deems important (even if it’s really not when I think about it later, logically).
- My own distorted thought processes: obsessing over a stressor before it even happens, reliving a traumatic or upsetting memory that causes me to “split” (the infamous BPD splitting).
Episodes (for me at least) are usually started by the former and drawn out by the ladder. They can last anywhere from a couple minutes to several hours.